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Imagine if

My contention is that schools, for decades, have been asked (ok, maybe even forced) to implement gargantuan programs and frameworks that are supposed to help with student conduct, teacher practice, engagement behaviour and culture.

My further contention is that you probably got busy implementing them. And also, perhaps you looked around, after many years of toil, and observed that very little had changed for the better. Maybe it had even gotten worse.

This “large investment – low return” change methodology has failed us and needs to go.

Instead, I reckon Teachers are craving some low-investment changes that have the potential for a high return.

For instance, just imagine if every teacher in your school:

  • Used an affective word for the inordinate number of low-level positive and negative behaviours that happen daily (time investment – 1 second) to build empathy and self-regulation in young people.
  • Used a stored response with boring, monotonous consistency (time investment – 3 seconds) for every student behaviour that gets them off track, offended or emotional.
  • Spoke a little more to the behaviours we wish to see than those we don’t, reflecting clear research around why they don’t work and all they do is remind us of behaviours we shouldn’t be deploying (zero time investment).
  • Spoke of school stakeholders, even in the staff room, using only positive labels – because we know people are inclined to live up to agreed personal labels (zero time investment).

True, there’s no series of mini-lessons to teach in the above plan for change. Nor are there any bewildering theme days or murals being painted across several weeks of valuable learning time.

Just a recognition that language is the most powerful driver of your School Culture and the revealer of what has been normalised in it.

Just imagine doing something that costs so little of your time but, taken to scale, has the potential to positively change so much.

Can you imagine that?

Keep fighting that good fight,


PS. Schools Plus has opened applications for this year’s new Partnership Funding Opportunities. I’ve produced a video to help you learn more about it and how our three-year School Culture Partnership could be a good choice for schools looking to make the most of this funding. Eligible schools with an ICSEA value below 1000 have until 11 September 2023 to apply. Need help? To book a meeting with me, click here.


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